The UK is set to introduce ‘Jack’s law’ – New legal pay right for parents who suffer the difficult loss of a child will be entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory leave.
- Working parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer from a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy will get 2 weeks’ statutory leave.
- The new law to 2 weeks’ paid bereavement leave will be called ‘Jack’s Law’ – the most generous offer on bereavement in the world.
- It will come into force on 6th April 2020.
As it stands, there is no automatic right to paid time off for bereavement in the UK. There is a right to time off for a “dependent” and this may include arranging a funeral but the law only states that time off for a dependent should be “reasonable”. But what is “reasonable”? Employers may have a compassionate leave policy and/or may treat the leave as sick leave, annual leave and they may authorise unpaid leave.
Jack’s Law is in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother has been campaigning for 10 years, and it will make an impact on millions of lives. Leave can be one week, two continuous weeks, or two separate weeks, starting on any day of the week.
Those who have been employed for at least 26 weeks will also be entitled to a minimum payment of up to £148 a week during the bereavement leave. This will depend on the individual’s salary.
Lucy Herd (the mother of Jack) explained - “In the immediate aftermath of a child dying, parents have to cope with their own loss, the grief of their wider family, including other children, as well as a vast amount of administrative paperwork and other arrangements. A sudden or accidental death may require a post-mortem or inquest; there is a funeral to arrange; and there are many other organisations to contact, from schools to benefit offices.”
“When I started this campaign 10 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create ‘Jack’s Law’ is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time. I am so grateful to all those involved who have helped make this possible. I was told many times that I would not succeed but Jack’s Law will now ensure that bereaved parents are better protected in the future.”
Around 7,500 child deaths, including around 3,000 stillbirths occur in the UK every year and introducing Jack’s law will benefit around 10,000 grieving parents a year.
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